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The Wrong Kind of AI? Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Labor Demand

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Pascual Restrepo

Abstract

Artificial Intelligence is set to influence every aspect of our lives, not least the way production is organized. AI, as a technology platform, can automate tasks previously performed by labor or create new tasks and activities in which humans can be productively employed. Recent technological change has been biased towards automation, with insufficient focus on creating new tasks where labor can be productively employed. The consequences of this choice have been stagnating labor demand, declining labor share in national income, rising inequality and lower productivity growth. The current tendency is to develop AI in the direction of further automation, but this might mean missing out on the promise of the "right" kind of AI with better economic and social outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2019. "The Wrong Kind of AI? Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Labor Demand," NBER Working Papers 25682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25682
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olmstead, Alan L. & Rhode, Paul W., 2001. "Reshaping The Landscape: The Impact And Diffusion Of The Tractor In American Agriculture, 1910 1960," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 663-698, September.
    2. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    3. David H. Autor, 2015. "Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 3-30, Summer.
    4. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
    6. Mariana Mazzucato, 2015. "The Green Entrepreneurial State," SPRU Working Paper Series 2015-28, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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